A recent, high-profile case of scientific fraud revolved around a new chip “developed” by a dean at the prestigious Jiatong University. Another university scientist in Shanghai was sacked after he admitted faking his academic credentials. The same story was repeated at Tsinghua in Beijing.
These sordid little affairs serve as a reminder that what people say (in China or anywhere else) is, sadly, not always true. The truth might be stretched, passed over – or just bulldozed – in order to get the job, deal or whatever result is desired.
Education and status are highly prized, and can be of great commercial value, in China. But fake qualification certificates (just like fake handbags) are cheap and readily available, as are people who are prepared to cheat on their exams. China Daily reports:
• Last year 1,700 students were punished for cheating (but, no doubt more went unnoticed).
• Fake exam papers (the real ones are “state secrets”) have been sold to prospective cheats (poetic justice?).
With 9.5 million students taking college entry exams this summer, and despite an anti-cheating campaign, there is plenty of scope for cheats and frauds to pass through the system unnoticed.
All this raises important risk issues for companies hiring “well-qualified” people to help run their fast-growing businesses, or for those investing in market-leading “expertise”. Instead of risking huge amounts of time and money hiring the wrong people, companies would be better off investing in due diligence background checks (costing from just a few hundred dollars) to ensure that claimed qualifications and past positions reflect reality. A friendly smile and some photocopied certificates are, sadly, not enough.
See news sources:
China cracks down on exam cheats
China Daily (AP)